Starting Kids for Kids
On a visit to see her eldest son, Alastair, in Khartoum who had just been appointed as a Diplomat to the Embassy there, Patricia Parker asked to see a project helping children.
“I had no intention whatsoever of starting a charity. I was there to see my son and to paint, but very few people visit Sudan and I thought I could perhaps alert one or two people who might like to help in a very small way when I returned to the UK.”
Patricia & Alastair were invited to El Fasher, the regional capital of North Darfur, by Save the Children. They went north in a 4 x 4. Patricia takes up the story “There are no roads leading north from El Fasher either then, or now. It was only March but already the heat was unbearable. All surface water had dried up and the sand was pockmarked with the imprint of footsteps as people walked for water. In the middle of the desert heat we came across a little 9 year old lad. He told us he was walking 7 hours to reach water, and then to carry it back to his family. I was shocked. This was deprivation beyond words – aid agencies were working in Darfur, yet nothing was being done to stop this. There is one of the largest aquafers in Africa under Darfur yet there was no plan for handpumps in even one village.”
Patricia’s immediate thought was that she and her family could provide a handpump near the little boy’s home at Um Ga’al. But then she asked to meet his mother. They found her camped out under some trees near a wadi (dry river bed) with her other four children. They were there – it was safe then to leave the village – because their three little goats could eat the twigs and leaves. Patricia was offered their evening meal – a bowl of goat’s milk.
The little boy’s walk for water enabled the goats to drink, and their milk gave him life sustaining proteins, minerals and vitamins.
“There was no alternative. I went back to Khartoum and, with the help of friends there – who still support us through our Khartoum Committee – created KIDS FOR KIDS.”
Six months after meeting the little 9 year old lad and hearing about his walk for water Patricia returned to Um Ga’al to see for herself if her first handpump had been installed. She was met by over 900 people who came to thank her. “We had prayed to God every day of our lives for water, and never believed it would happen in our life times”
You too can give the gift of water! Thank you.